23 December 2008

Ishak transferred back, 'demoted'

Datuk Ishak Mohamed has been serving as Immigration enforcement director since 2003
Datuk Ishak Mohamed has been serving as Immigration enforcement director since 2003

KUALA LUMPUR: The saga of Immigration enforcement director Datuk Ishak Mohamed's sudden transfer to the Domestic Trade and Consumer Affairs Ministry has taken a new twist.

Ishak, who is a grade M52 diplomatic and administrative officer, has been transferred again.

He is now going to be the deputy director of the Immigration enforcement division -- the one he had been heading since 2003.

His first transfer as Selangor Domestic Trade and Consumer Affairs director was supposed to take effect on Dec 1.

In the latest transfer letter signed by the deputy secretary-general of the Home Ministry, dated Dec 16, Ishak was appointed Immigration enforcement deputy director, also effective Dec 1.
Fondly known as Pak Sako among the press corps and Immigration officers, Ishak, who will turn 55 on Jan 4, was notified of the first transfer via a letter dated Nov 20 and signed by the Public Service Department's service division director Datuk Dr Mohd Azhar Yahaya.

The letter was received by the Immigration Department's human resource director on Nov 30.

Following that, Ishak had said he was opting for early retirement as a matter of principle.

Sources close to the Immigration Department had said the high-profile Ishak might have been transferred because of his "popularity" among the country's pressmen.

One of his many recent successes was the use of mobile biometrics to flush out the estimated 1.2 million illegal immigrants in the country.

The system will be fully operational by early next year.

Already used in a semi-trial mode, the fingerprinting-based Mobile Immigration Enforcement System (MIES) has proven so successful in identifying illegal immigrants that Ishak had hailed it as "the wave of the future".

MIES, which allows officials to verify identities and check immigration status via I-Kad, MyKad, passport and thumbprints, is being used in every state.

The department also plans to share MIES with police and Rela officers to make it easier to detect foreigners who overstay, abuse their passes, fake their documents or have none at all.

The system has also been endorsed by the Public Accounts Committee, which had earlier suggested that biometric scanning machines be used at entry points to stem the influx of illegals. A set costs RM8,000.

Sources had also said Ishak's transfer might be linked to the launch of the biometric system.

It is understood that another system, featuring more or less the same functions, was also launched last month, and that the government would have to pay RM14 to check the bar code embossed on each MyKad and another RM14 on every working permit issued to foreigners.

Altogether, the government would have to pay about RM14 million if this new system is implemented.

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